3 May 2012
Auction format needs modifying, says director
By Lulu Trask
Online yacht auction website TheYachtAuction.com has now had two auctions since its launch in December 2011. In the wake of both the February and April auctions, the company is still waiting for its first superyacht sale. SuperyachtNews.com spoke exclusively to Director of TheYachtAuction.com James Fordham, who shed light on the company’s changing strategy for the future.
TheYachtAuction.com has seen a total of six superyachts entered into auction, notably YPI’s entering of Ses Yachts’ 39.3m motoryacht Hulya, as well as the separate entries of Camper & Nicholsons’ 33.9m motoryacht and Poole Chaffe’s 32m motoryacht, as well as three additional yachts between 24m and 30m.
“Everything’s a learning curve, as we’d expected,” Fordham told SuperyachtNews.com. Fordham didn’t attribute the lack of superyacht sales to the yachts themselves or the state of the market, but rather the discrepancy between an owner’s selling price and a buyer’s desired price. “It’s a huge problem across the whole industry,” said Fordham.
“I turned around and said to [colleague] Andy, I’m so far off what the owner wants to sell and what the buyer wants to pay. It’s the brokers that have taken the hit [of the recession], not the sellers or the buyers, which obviously dilapidated sales across the industry," said Fordham of his previous brokerage experience just before creating TheYachtAuction.com.
Another reason for a lack of superyacht sales was attributed to the online process. “A lot of them are saying that for them to get all certified documents, for them to pay five per cent of the deposit, and then not know that they are going to win the auction, is a lot of work,” said Fordham.
Reacting quickly, TheYachtAuction.com has taken a pragmatic approach and is already in the process of removing guide prices and five per cent deposit. “We’ve already got them surpassed by the solicitors,” said Fordham. “Now the website’s just being redeveloped and programmed once again to allow for that.”
The owner of Camper & Nicholsons’ 1975 33.9m motoryacht was one of the first people who asked for the website’s removal of the guide price, which Fordham said “did encourage a lot more interest.”
Last Sunday, a week after its last auction and less than two months to go before the next auction, firefighters were called to St. Katherine Dock, London, where the 33.9m Camper & Nicholsons was found ablaze.
Approximately ten firefighters arrived at the blaze at 3.50am on Sunday morning, and an hour later the blaze was out. No one was seriously injured, though one person suffered from smoke inhalation and was treated at the scene. A spokesman from the London Fire Brigade told SuperyachtNews.com that the cause of the fire was electrical, and that it was accidental. After the fire, the London Fire Brigade announced that the superyacht needed new fire alarms.
In a document released after the fire, Deputy Assistant of the London Fire Brigade Andrew Cutbill wrote: “The authority is of the opinion that Super Yacht MV, Absolute Pleasure, for sleeping or entertainment involves, or will involve, a risk to relevant persons so serious that the use of the premises ought to be prohibited.
“The authority is of this opinion because there is an inadequate system for detecting and giving warning of fire in the premises.”
TheYachtAuction.com has yet to comment on this incident, however has said it will send a comment to SuperyachtNews.com in due course.
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